At 57 minutes, this song spans 5 parts on 5 different albums. Beginning with ‘The Glass Prison’ – which might incidentally be the best progressive metal song ever written – on Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence and ends with ‘The Shattered Fortress’ on Black Clouds & Silver Linings. Some people might add ‘The Mirror‘ from Awake as a sort of prelude to the suite, but is not officially part of it.
The song’s lyrics are written by former DT drummer Mike Portnoy and are about his fight against alcoholism via the Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12-step program.
The whole composition was intended to be played live but due to the separation of the band, almost right after the completion of the suite, rendered that impossible. Dream Theater still have the rights, technically, to the songs, but playing them live without Portnoy would be a great lack of respect.
Maybe we can hope that, some day in the future, Portnoy could come back on the stage with DT one last time to play this suite in its entirety, like it was designed to be.
EDIT: it looks like that dream’s become a reality
Post originally published on the Prog Talk FB page on 27/09/2015 by ~Frog.